Are you ready for some satellite disruption? Solar storms are.
Our Solar System’s Sun is currently an extremely busy star. The Sun goes through cycles of activity ranging from periods of minimal to middling solar activity and eventually entering ‘solar maximums’. Our Sun is currently at a grand solar maximum and has been since 1920.
Sunspots occur at the end of a grand solar maximum. As the maximum ends and we return to a middling solar phase we will experience a steep increase in sunspot activity.
Just how the flares will affect us is still an anomaly. From what researchers theorize we could run into issues due to utilizing technology that previously didn’t exist in the last sun cycle. Technology that could be affected ranges from aviation to communications.
Researchers utilize information stored in ice cores and tree trunks from 10,000 years prior. The amount of nitrates concentrated in ice sheets indicate that a solar event occurred.
We can expect the most disruptive radiation events to occur with assistance of coronal mass ejections—‘solar storms’.
Stanford University is currently working on a warning system that could give notification prior to a sun spot emerging. The team is currently studying how helioseismology, or the analysis of vibrations on the solar surface, could indicate when a sun spot was forming. The science utilizes acoustic signals that speed up in regions where sun spots are forming up to 65,000km deep.
This ability to predict a sun spot 1-2 days early could assist in recalibrating or preparing satellite systems for a solar flare that could damage or disable communication and aviation systems.